Monday, November 2, 2015

It's Not About the Shoes

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (I Thess 5:11)

If you are of a certain age, you might remember the Keds commercial--the one that promised that Keds would make you "run faster and jump higher." 

I bought some real running shoes the other day. 

They promised nothing, but I assumed that since they were "real" running shoes as opposed to sneakers that I thought might be running shoes, they might make me run faster and...well, I don't jump at this age, so I'd settle for the run faster.

They didn't.

In fact, I had the most cruddy run I've had since I've gotten to the point where I can run the whole time and not walk. But I really couldn't blame it on the shoes.

I don't know why, but I just had a really hard time. I had to stop and walk. I tried changing the music, and started running again when suddenly I heard what sounding like extra running. Seconds later, she passed me. That woman. The one who runs all the time.

She must run a 7 minute mile (as opposed to my 12+). She has to be a marathon runner. I think she runs to work and runs home. Or maybe she just runs all day every day. She's always running---fast. 

I checked her shoes. They were not Keds and they were not the same as mine. I would have asked her what brand they are so I could get some, but she flew by so fast.

But here's the thing---

Watching her in front of me actually encouraged me to keep going. Keeping my eye on someone more experienced helped me want to keep running the race.

So it goes with our Christian walk. 

There are times when we feel alone, forgotten, or confused. There are times when we get discouraged or disappointed and feel displaced. These are the times that we need to look at the ones who have gone before us. The more spiritually mature. The ones who have the wisdom and experience of running the same race we're running. 

When we watch how they train, how they persevere, how they handle trials and hardships, we are encouraged to continue. We find a strength we didn't know we had because we discover that we want to emulate the more experienced "runners." We aspire to be like them.

Now, here's the other thing--

She turned around before I did, so before I knew it, she'd disappeared. I no longer had my "coach" to focus on, so I once again became tired and wanted to just give up. The truth was, I WAS tired, and I needed to walk. Sometimes, I'm just too hard on myself.

When our mentor is no longer there to guide us, to coach us, to be an inspiration for us, it's easy for us to lose our momentum and focus. 

Paul told us to encourage one another. We need encouragement from those who are further in their journey, but at the same time, we need to look down, back or around us to see who we can encourage. 

Believe it or not, someone is watching you. Someone is desiring to emulate you, aspiring to be like you. You may think otherwise, but unless you live in a hole, you are communicating and  interacting with a variety of people every day. You are influencing people, often without even knowing it. Trust me, someone is watching you with admiration.

That's why we need to remember this:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:12-14

Are you a coach, a mentor, a teacher--encouraging those behind you to press on? 

Or are you a trainee, a student, a disciple--learning from those with more wisdom, experience, and faith?

Look around--open your eyes and ears up to see and hear who might be looking to you for what you're looking to others for. While you're at it, you just might discover something you can learn from someone who is not as far in their journey as you are. You're never one or the other. You're both. Always.

By the way, the shoes aren't what make you ran faster or jump higher. It's the spirit of motivation inside the shoes. You are more capable than you think you are.

Remember Dorothy? It wasn't the Ruby slippers that took her home--it was her determination, her memory of home, her desire. Because ruby slippers on their own do nothing. It's the person wearing the ruby slippers that makes them magic.

Keep running your race, whatever it may look like!

Blessings Along the Path,


  1. I love the illustrations you use to make some excellent points. We need to keep our eyes on our Coach. We can follow Him and trust Him to lead us. So thankful to visit from the #WordswithWinter linkup today.

    1. Thank you Stephanie. So true---our Coach has all the answers!